News of the WeekNeuroscience

A Possible Target for Better Benzodiazepines

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Science  06 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5489, pp. 23-25
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5489.23b

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Pharmacologists have tried for years to distill the desirable effects of benzodiazepines from the undesirable ones; now a team of neuroscientists has shown that such a strategy could well succeed. Benzodiazepines work by amplifying the action of the neurotransmitter GABA, the brain's main "off" switch, and in work described on page 131, a group has pinpointed one particular subtype of the GABA receptor as the source of benzodiazepines' anxiety-reducing powers.